Benue Government condemns criticism of Justice Kpojime’s report

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By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Benue state government has observed with dismay that in spite of its advice to right-thinking persons not to lower their reputation through malicious and baseless publications against the administration of Governor Samuel Ortom, some people have decided to misinform the public with their shallow knowledge on the report of the Justice Elizabeth Kpojime Judicial Commission of Inquiry.
According to a statement signed by Governor Ortom’s aide, Akor Godwin, recently, one Iorbee Tyongi, ignorantly claimed in a write-up he did in one of the national dailies that the judicial commission of inquiry was not supposed to query monies approved by the Joint Accounts and Allocation Committee, JAAC, for the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, to spend on some projects within the period of the immediate past administration.
 
Mr Tyongi made this claim because he did not know what the law says concerning the management of local government funds.
For the benefit of those that Mr Tyongi may attempt to brainwash, the law provides that local government councils must give approval before their monies could be spent on projects including that of ALGON.
 
Some of those indicted in the commission’s report may not have known that some of the persons that served as ALGON chairmen during the eight year period of the immediate past administration admitted during the sitting that local government councils were not given the opportunity to give approval for the deduction of monies spent on HIV/AIDS control support projects and lecture theaters for higher institutions of learning.
 
Tyongi’s ignorance in law made him to state in the write-up that ALGON and JAAC gave approval for SURE-P funds to be spent on local government staff salaries and critical infrastructure not knowing that many of the council chairmen did not consult with other council members before giving ALGON and JAAC the go-ahead to spend such monies to the tune of billions of naira.
 
State chairmen of ALGON who served at different times under the immediate past administration told the commission that at various times, the special adviser on local government and chieftaincy affairs took over the functions of ALGON.
 
It is on record that the misappropriation of SURE-P funds for local governments worried the House of Assembly to the extent that it had to query the special adviser at that time and ordered him to appear before it for questioning.
 
Tyongi has forgotten that the present administration screened local government staff before bailout funds were paid to them as arrears of salaries. It would appear that if Tyongi was in the position to pay the salary arrears to workers, he would have paid them to ghost workers, thereby encouraging corruption.
 
The local government staff that failed to appear for screening were given several opportunities to appear and clear themselves but the ghosts among them could not appear to clear themselves.
 
Instead of going to the Court of Law to challenge the aspects of the commission’s report that he presumed were not true, Iorbee Tyongi decided to contest the amount of money that was stashed in the bank when teachers were on strike.
 
Whether the unpaid salaries of striking teachers stashed in the banks amounted to N6 billion or N10 billion, Tyongi contradicted himself by saying that N1.5 billion was later paid to the teachers without stating what the immediate past administration did with the balance of the money in the bank.
 
To Mr Tyongi, the N107 billion said to have been misappropriated by the last administration appears unrealistic even he has failed to counter the commission’s findings on all the transactions that took place during that period of 2007 to 2015.
Those indicted by the Justice Kpojime Judicial Commission of Inquiry should learn to present reasonable arguments through good writers not through armchair writers who write the opposite of what they have in mind.
 
Agents of those that allegedly diverted N107 billion should not allow themselves to be embarrassed in write ups that cannot withstand the test of time.
 
Mr Tyongi sat in the comfort of his house to do the bidding of his sponsors by trying to fault the commission’s finding that N51.56 billion local government fund was illegally deducted when he, Tyongi, did not, for one day, witness proceeding during the commission’s sitting.
 
Perhaps what one should say about Mr Iorbee Tyongi in this matter is that he and his sponsors are perishing in ignorance because of lack of knowledge on how government businesses are conducted.
 
It may be the same lack of knowledge that made key functionaries in the immediate past administration to believe that withdrawal of government money from banks for expenditure could be done on pieces of papers that could easily be thrown into the wastepaper basket.
 
Mr Tyongi should weep for himself because his write up did not contain any aorta of truth.

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